Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Beach Buzz: Good News and Bad News in Puerto Penasco

Here we are with only a week left in February already, and the beach is buzzing with news and events.

Let's take the good news first, starting with the fun and games of Carnaval. The celebration, with its attendant parades, booths, rides and other festivities, was held at the lot next to the Penasco del Sol (more about that hotel below). There was a decent crowd, lots of music (of course!), gorgeous costumes and a great time was had by all!

Visit Karen Elaine Aldridge's Facebook photo album for lots of pictures that show it much better than I can describe it.

Rocky Point was hopping for a change (it's been awfully quiet out there!), and with Spring Break on its way, followed by larger crowds during Semana Santa, the town looks to see some good business for a little while.

Second, work is progressing on the new Convention Center, located on a 20-acre parcel south of the old Cholla Bay Road past Rodeo Drive.

The complex will have a modern design that will include an exhibit hall for trade shows, an auditorium, a building of breakout meeting rooms, and an outdoor amphitheater among other amenities.

Even though work is already well underway, Sonora's Governor will join Mayor Alejandro Zepeda to oversee the official ground breaking ceremony for the project on Feb. 28.

Currently, workers are installing the underground infrastructure, the blocks for the walls have been delivered and it should be coming out of the ground within a week or so.

And Russ Black's Penasco Recreation has been busy with his Russ Bus tours lately, showing the sights to about 100 people who caravanned down in their RVs and are staying at the Playa de Oro. From the looks of it, they've all been having a very good time checking out the Oyster Farm, the Elegante Crater, the Pinacate Visitor Center, a tequila tasting and the many other things Penasco has to offer. It's all good!

Now for the not-so-good news.

Sadly, Pinky's Dive Bar has permanently closed its doors, due to unfortunate personal circumstances the nature of which were not revealed. Pinky's, located at the bottom of the Pink Cadillac club, off to the left where the pool is, has been a popular gathering spot and it will be missed. I wish the owners the best of luck and hope their issues will be successfully resolved.

Also sadly, last August's bankruptcy filing by the owners of the Penasco del Sol hotel is coming to its inevitable end. NCH Rocky Point LLC filed for protection after its primary lender, Textron Financial Corp., to which NCH Rocky Point owes $13.5 million, made a move to take over the property either through a trustee sale or by appointing a receiver. Textron holds a lien on three parcels of property owned by the company: the 203-room hotel, 18 acres adjacent to it that was to be developed into a convention center and another 21 acres on the beach a short distance from the hotel.

Attempts to work with Textron to repay the debt ultimately failed, and Textron will now be taking over the property. There is no word on what Textron will do with it, but the company historically isn't interested in actually owning properties so my guess it that they'll put it on the market at some point.

Penasco del Sol was originally built as a timeshare resort called Plaza las Glorias in the early 1990s by Grupo Sidek/Grupo Situr, which was Mexico's largest and fastest growing real estate developer at the time. However, the peso devaluation in 1994 caught the company with its pants down and over the next decade or so all of its assets were liquidated, including its resort in Penasco. Its timeshare owners, members of the "Sun Club", still show up at the resort to this day for their vacations.

Here's an ironic thought. Textron has done a whole lot of lending in the timeshare industry for many many years, and they have a lot of contacts. What if some timeshare developer saw this property as a good investment and snapped it up to turn it back into a timeshare resort? It's location is perfect, there's room for expansion when the time is right, and it already has a timeshare history with attendant rules, regulations and governing structure in place. And it had a recent $2 Million update to make it look snazzy, though the rooms themselves would need some renovation to meet today's expectations. Why not?

And that's the Buzz on the Beach for today.

Peace out...

About Beach Buzz: Not necessarily the news, this is a place for information, opinion, speculation, gossip, tips and other good stuff about Rocky Point, and Mexico in general. If you have something you'd like to share, I'd like to hear from you!

Contact me at

Awaken your inner beachbum
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark Twain